Sunday, August 06, 2017

Vector Birthdays

I will be teaching AP Physics C, Mechanics and Electricity & Magnetism, for the first time this year. Although I have been graciously gifted curriculum from several veteran teachers, you have to make your curriculum your own. So I'm tweaking what I have, splicing and dicing things together into what I think will make a good learning experience for my students. (Of course you know I'll have to rewrite it next year once I actually know what I'm doing).

One of the things I wanted my students to practice was drawing vectors. I found a lot of worksheets online but wanted something a little more open. Adding to my complicated needs is the upcoming eclipse and my plans to travel to Oregon like Dan. I need four days of sub plans right at the beginning of the year. At last I had an epiphany:

The instructions should be simple enough for students to do without help from the sub. Each student (unless they are twins) will have an entirely different vector drawing. Its a quick and easy way to practice. Below is the example I'll have the sub project:
I can ask students who has the smallest resultant, the largest or perhaps the one closest to 90 degrees. This use of child-specific numbers make me think how else I can use them. Perhaps problems with blanks students fill in with numbers only the know: their birthdays, their address, their phone number. Everyone gets to practice the same process but each problem would be unique.

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